FICTION

Dear Substitute

illus. by Chris Raschka. 40p. Disney-Hyperion. Jun. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781484750223.
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PreS-Gr 2—Just when you think you've got the school routine down pat, a substitute shows up and does everything differently. In a series of short poems, an unnamed narrator apologizes for the deviations from the norm: the roll call is mispronounced, the homework isn't collected, the turtle's tank isn't cleaned, and so on. Raschka's good-humored watercolors take all this disruption just seriously enough. The spread with Miss Pelly's "back-of-the-head eyes" gazing attentively through her red, cat's-eye-framed glasses is particularly effective. By the end of the day, the narrator has adjusted and even discovered something new: she likes poetry thanks to the anthologies Miss Pelly shares. All school children deal with substitute teachers somewhere along the line; this title will help them embrace a little flexibility.
VERDICT Every elementary school library will want a copy and it won't be out of place in public libraries or homes, either.

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